Arkansas Football Gives Fans Ample Reason to Give Up on Season

Richard Langford@@noontide34Correspondent ISeptember 22, 2012

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - SEPTEMBER 15:    Head Coach John L. Smith of the Arkansas Razorbacks watches on the sidelines during a game against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Razorback Stadium on September 15, 2012 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  The Crimson Tide defeated the Razorbacks 52-0.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The Arkansas Razorbacks' train is derailed, and it is not getting back on track this season. The last sign of evidence we needed to put this nail in the coffin was their 35-26 loss to Rutgers at home on Saturday. 

It has been a thorough and sudden fall from grace for Arkansas. 

Nine months ago, the Razorbacks were fresh off of a 29-16 win over Kansas State in the Cotton Bowl to cap off an impressive 11-2 season. 

With key pieces like head coach Bobby Petrino and QB Tyler Wilson set to return, many had the Razorbacks pegged as a national championship contender. 

Well anyone who has even a casual interest in college football during the offseason knows that things have not exactly gone according to plan for Arkansas. 

Bobby Petrino managed to sneak his way out of a job, and his sudden and shocking departure left this program in a less-than-optimal position, and that is saying everything in the preceding sentence kindly. 

Arkansas is proving the immense difficulty of its position with its terrible performances on the field this season. 

They suffered an embarrassing loss in overtime of their second contest to Louisiana-Monroe—a loss that bumped them completely out of the Top 25 after they entered the week as the nation's No. 8 team. It was the second-largest drop in the history of the poll.

And how did they follow that up? By getting destroyed 52-0 to Alabama. All of this made for a make-or-break week for the Razorbacks.

Rutgers is a solid team, but Arkansas was playing this one at home, and every place I saw had the Razorbacks as the favorites. 

This was Arkansas's chance to make a statement that they had something to give fans hope, and that they were not going to mail this season in.

The only thing they gave fans was evidence that this team is going nowhere. 

They allowed over 500 yards of offense to Rutgers, and even the talented Wilson was off as he threw two interceptions. 

More importantly, this Arkansas team had chances to take momentum and win this game, but it failed whenever in sniffing range of success. 

The Razorbacks hit for an 80-yard Cobi Hamilton TD in the fourth to pull within two points. They missed on the potential game-tying two-point conversion, and then surrendered a 60-yard touchdown play just two plays into Rutgers' ensuing possession. 

Arkansas is simply not making big plays when they need them. They are losing the battle of inches, and given its tumultuous offseason, it is not a shock this team is not prepared to win those small, but important, battles. 

This is going to be a long and forgettable season for the Razorbacks.